Pilots between the ages of 18 and 24 should dust off their passports and brush up on their French! AOPA, AOPA France, the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, and the Fédération Française Aéronautique (FFA) are teaming up to send one lucky winner on the trip of a lifetime to the HOP Tour des Jeunes Pilotes (TAJP) in France.
Sponsored by the FFA, the goal of the HOP Tour des Jeunes Pilotes is to motivate the next generation of pilots, build camaraderie, and serve as a public outreach event promoting general aviation. Forty-five pilots are expected to participate in the race July 15 to 30.
Past winners described the event as an experience they’ll never forget. AOPA’s 2013 winner, then 20-year-old Jennifer Guetterman, said she got the royal treatment in France, including the opportunity to land on a grass airstrip and fly an Antonov An-2.
The 2014 winner, Kayla Graham, was chosen from a pool of applicants to attend the event and represent the United States. Behind the controls of the brand-new French-built Robin DR401, Graham was captivated by the sights and France’s deep history as she flew above the beaches of Normandy.
The TAJP event serves to promote GA in France and around the world. During each stop in the race, pilots will be able to meet with the public and share their passion for aviation.
To qualify, pilots must be between the ages of 18 and 24, have a valid U.S. passport, be at least a private pilot, and have a current flight review. Applicants also must be able to participate in a short telephone or Skype interview and be available to travel abroad July 11 through Aug. 3.
To apply for the opportunity, send a 500-word essay describing your passion for flight and flying experience to AOPA at FTinitiative@aopa.org with “TAJP application” in the subject line. Also include a photo or copy of your pilot certificate and passport. The application deadline is June 1.